ARC Review: Dirty Heart, by Rhys Ford

Advanced Reader Copy generously provided by the author
in exchange for an honest review.


cover-rhysford-dirtyheartFormer LAPD detective Cole McGinnis’s life nearly ended the day his police partner and best friend Ben Pirelli emptied his service weapon into Cole and his then-lover, Rick. Since Ben turned his gun on himself, Cole thought he’d never find out why Ben tried to destroy him.

Years later, Cole has stitched himself back together. Now a private investigator and in love with Jae-Min Kim, a Korean-American photographer he met on a previous case, Cole’s life is back on track—until he discovers Jeff Rollins, a disgraced cop and his first partner, has resurfaced and appears to be working on the wrong side of the law.

As much as Cole’s fought to put the past behind him, he’s soon tangled up in a web of lies, violence, and death. Jeff Rollins is not only trying to kill Cole’s loved ones, he is also scraping open old wounds and long-forgotten memories of the two men Cole loved and lost. Cole is sure Rollins knows why Ben ruined all their lives, but he isn’t looking for answers. Now Cole is caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a cold-blooded killer with the key to not only his past but his future.


Dates read:
Edition read:
March 21, 2016
Dreamspinner Press LLC
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
204 e-book pages
1st person
Cole McGinnis, book 6
January 21-24, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Get this! I started my first very first Rhys Ford book, Dirty Kiss, on March 21st, 2015.

How cool is it the last book of the series releases on my one-year anniversary of Rhys Ford discovery and the commencement of fangirling?


She didn’t know. Total coincidence. But HOW FREAKING COOL!

I started that book on a plane heading to Paris for a two-week river cruise through France then a few days in Amsterdam. It was an AMAZING trip – but I was way too busy being all touristy during the day and way too wine-soaked and exhausted to read much at night. So it took daaaays longer than normal for me to read the book. I read book two, Dirty Secret, during the last week of the trip and finished on the plane ride home. Then by God and jet lag be damned, I went on a Quick & Dirty Journey to devour the rest of the available books & interspersed shorts in the series over three days. Three books, three shorts, three days.

What a ride!

A ride that came to a screeching assed halt and resulted in a book hangover from hell.

But good things come to those who wait. Patiently. Right? Right.

When I got the ARC for this book and realized I had about two months to savor this before publication, I thought about how I wanted to tackle this final book. Did I want to go back to the beginning and reread, or at least skim, the first five books to refresh my memory? Or did I just want to dive in head first?

I chose to dive in head first. Not just because I was trembling with glee and anticipation. No. Well, maybe partly. I dove in because I imagined that’s what most readers and dedicated fans of this series would do. Who’s got time to reread five books with this one wiggling its ass at you? Flirting. Taunting. Reeeeeaad Meeee.

Since this was my plan of attack, I wanted to see if the details and characters would all come flooding back–or if there would be some confusion.

Result: Very little confusion. There were some details, memories, and whatnot that I had to pause to recall. I’d say it took until nearly 30% for any of my forgetfulness of past events in the series to resolve.

I LOVE RHYS’ STYLE. I can’t say it enough. I love her adjectives and word combinations and descriptions that animate the senses. She can describe stench so well it ruins my appetite and scenery so well it puts me there. She never ceases to pull me in do deeply that I’m on the sidelines with all her characters.

The first sentence in this story caused a simultaneous full body shiver and a bark of laughter that evolved into a chuckling fit so forceful I had to put the book down for a few minutes to collect myself. I swear it felt like Rhys was in my brain and scratching at a silly little thing that just so happens to creep me the fuck out. The entire first chapter was the stuff of my nightmares, but she had me giggling like a lunatic at the absurdity of the action and my fears.

Then by chapter two I was crying real tears. Because…well, not telling. Other than it hurt. Deeply. At the same time cleansing, though. Just…sometimes you need to fall completely apart before you can be put back together. And isn’t it amazing when there’s someone there to be the glue, spit, and twine to piece you back together and help you find all your parts?

Cole and Jae. Lordy-be how I love them together and hated to say goodbye. It’s profound how much they love each other, how they see each other, how well they fit. Jae is broody calm, and I love how Cole reads him, how they know what each other needs. Their relationship is nothing short of symbiotic in how they have a mind to each other. The intimacy between them is scorching hot, teasing, and so very, very sweet.

For once, I had no idea of the whodunnit in this mystery. I mean, we know the bad guy, so maybe it’s more of a whydunnit. We learn early who he is, we kind of get an idea of his targets. But, we don’t know the big WHY and what’s driving him in his madness. There are a lot of relevant puzzle pieces all slotting together bit by bit. But those final pieces of WHY linger until nearly the end. And…whew my eyes bugged.

Rhys is one of the most dependable authors I’ve ever read. I might not know exactly what I’m gonna get. But I know for sure the story is going to be on point with fluid prose, nuanced characters, comedic barbs, depth of emotion, and incredible story arcs that take the reader on an unforgettable ride.

And this book? This book is hands down the best of the series. I laughed out loud, cried wracking sobs (more than once), felt anger, fear, despair, joy, love, and hope…the gamut of emotions to the bittersweet end.

This series is action-packed, full of intrigue and brilliant comic relief. At the same time, it’s been the evolution of a beautiful romance and hanging out with characters who feel like friends and family. What an incredible Dirty Journey it’s been.

Final Thought: I wrote this review in January, and it’s been lingering on my computer for nearly two months. I opened it today to fine-tune, edit a little, polish a few rough edges. I also opened up my copy of the book to see if there were any special notes or highlights I needed to add to my ramblings. FYI: I’m a crying puddle of goo right now having gone back and read a few passages and the epilogue. So now I’m gonna go eat cookies, and I’ll be sure to dream sweet-n-dirty dreams of Cole and Jae.

This review also posted on GoodReads.

Pre-Order / Purchase Links:

Dreamspinner Press    *    Amazon

Other Books in the Series:

1) Dirty Kiss
2) Dirty Secret
3) Dirty Laundry
4) Dirty Deeds
5) Down and Dirty

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